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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 24, 2009 11:30am-12:00pm EDT

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think, for a number of the countries over there. i am not an expert on the details of that, but i do know the palestinians, while all the muslim nations say look how bad the palestinians are, they are not so quick to jump in and help them either. host: defense secretary gates has raised some concerns about the history of testing and the reliability of the system. do you feel like testing has been adequate and that the system has proven itself? guest: well, they have run quite a number of different tests. to my knowledge, all of the tests have been successful, with the exception of a couple of times. one time they loaded the wrong software and it was a test software as opposed to the real software that shoots the missile, so it was in this loading of a desk. another place where a test was unsuccessful was because the missiles they were testing against failed. it was not the defense missile that failed, but it was the
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offense missile that failed, so that did not work. really the level of success is very high, but we need to continue to test because the geometry of how the missiles come together, the closing speeds, the working of the different radars, integration of the software -- it is onof those things that you continue to work on and you continue to have better and better results. it was originally thought that we would hit a missile with a missile. we are not there at this point. we are hitting a spot on a missile with a missile. we are not targeting just a missile, but a spot on a missile. you can see the video clips of these two missiles colliding in the air. there is an x on the side of the missile that we are trying to hit, exactly where we want to hit it. from the physics point of view, there is no warhead on the missile that we shoot. it is just a piece of metal that is going, and they are going
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together at such tremendous velocity that it looks like a huge explosion. but it is really like a head-on car wreck, only sped up 1000 times. host: what do you think -- why do you think the secretary has brought up concerns about missile testing? guest: i think that is a standard deal. ever since ronald reagan talked about missile defense, there's always been the argument that it is too expensive, it will not work, we will be destabilized. first of all, the "don't work" is something that people hid behind for quite awhile. well, they do work, very well, and quite sophisticated from the point of view of protecting our nation. you actually are hitting an incoming missile out over the pacific, so the trash does not fall -- you do not want that trash falling over our country, especially if it is a nuclear warhead. first of all, they do work, and
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that is causing the democrats to shift over where they are supporting it to some degree. he used to be when i came in in 2001, it was a straight party vote. not one democrats supported it, nl over the period of time we have seen it, there has been much greater levels of support. you have the testing element. you have to continue to test systems. when of the things they have to test will be the enemy, and shed of shooting one missile, they shoot 10 missiles that break into pieces. now we have to come up with a missile that breaks into 10 pieces, or that his it early enough before it breaks apart. host: our next caller is from atlanta, georgia. eric joins us from the democrats' line. caller: yes, the average person is not -- the point that i would like to make is this. john mccain has been in force
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from the bottom. his father and grandfather helped him get admitted to the naval academy. this person, why is he considered a leader? why is his point of view so important? why should obama listen to him? this is what happens with a president who is not too bright. like george bush, he is manipulative. guest: it seems like the caller does not like any of the republicans at all. i do not know that mccain is that influential within the republican party, per se, but he has a long history of being in the defense business and knows something about it. as far as the bogeyman, you could say something about the boogeyman of radical islamic
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terrorists after september 11. if you consider -- if you continue to see the launches of north korea and iran, i guess you could say it is the boogeyman. it is clear they are refining uranium and in reaching it. there is only one reason to do that in their case, and it appears they have the attention of -- they have the intent of making nuclear weapons. and we have a leadership that is not doing their job. if there is one thing that the federal government should be doing, it is defending america. there are many, many things that could be done at state and local levels whereby individuals -- or by individuals or by private industry, and we are meddling in all those different things. what we should do is major in the things that cannot be done at the federal level, and that
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is taking care of defense. calling defense the boogeyman it i think is a little bit naive. host: from okeechobee, florida, james joins us on the independent life. good morning, are you with us? caller: this is chuck miller from sun prairie, wisconsin. caller: chuck, we are delighted to have you. caller: i am wondering what ever happened to the a abl program. the abl's were supposed to be operative by 2007, but we have never heard about it. we have come along way from when i was involved in missile programs. the accuracy is unbelievable. we missed half the time when we shot at the drone. the drone was launched upper
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range, and we had in this -- and we had a miss distance. what has ever happened to the abl program. guest: the abl is airborne laser. that is one of the programs that is to be cut, and republicans are opposed to cutting that. is a huge, huge jet like air force one. the whole center carbone -- the whole center of the plane is housing the chemicals that create the laser. with reflecting mirrors and fenty lenses, it goes to a big cyclops eye on the front of the airplane which can direct the laser. there are three lasers that operate on the plane.
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the first one is a little tiny spotting laser that looks out in the distance and see is the enemy misle, and it says, ok, i see it and i know where it is. the second laser then takes an measures the atmosphere between the aircraft that has the airborne laser and the enemy missile and checks basically the optic of the atmosphere that the laser is going through in order to tune this very powerful laser, and then they punched the third one. the third one is held on target, and because the optics have been straightened out in such a way it directs tremendous energy to a spot about 6 inches in diameter and can burn a hole through a great numbers of materials, at least probably up to 100-mile range. that is obviously the potential technology that has other applications, but the idea being that you may be able to catch a missile near the beginning of
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its ascent when it is much more fragile and to destroy it early on before it becomes a problem that you have to use the other missiles to get it on the midcourt section. -- on the mid-course section. this summer it is to have the laser fired through the marriage, and it should be tested this summer. we hope that the funding -- through the mirrors, and it should be tested this summer. we hope the funding will not be cut. host: so many republicans are calling for fiscal restraint. do you see a place where there is room for budget cuts in defense? guest: there is always a problem with the federal government spending money. we are sloppy, and the federal government is not very good at spending money in general. no matter where you go with the federal government spending money, you will always find waste and not very good ways of handling that. we do worse when we have large
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amounts of money that we try to spend in a hurry. then we really make a lot of mistakes, and that will go on with just the nature of the federal government. the concern that we have is that the federal government really should be focused on doing a few tasks well instead of trying to meddle in every part of the economy, deciding what auto dealers should be closed and deciding whether or not we're going to fire the president of an automaker, whether we are going to get into the insurance business, the banking business. host: but do you see specific places for potential cuts? guest: well, first of all, there was a cruiser that was designed for the mission of the ship changed. so we did not really need that. they were building a couple of them, but the need for that ship is no longer there. the ship was changed into some super destroyer instead. another example would be we have a combat ship. the government was sloppy, the
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navy was sloppy in tryingin the gentleman will suspend. the house will come to order. members and staff in conversations will remove them from the floor. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend until the house is in order. members and staff in the rear of the chambers will take their conversations from the floor. members will take their seats. the gentleman from missouri has 16 minutes remaining. the gentleman from south carolina has 16 1/4 minutes remaining. members and staff in the rear of the chamber will take their conversations from the floor. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: madam speaker, this is a very, very important bill, particularly important to disabled american veterans.
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i notice we have had two adjournment motions already. i hope we can take this bill up because those young men and young women deserve it. a special thanks to the speaker, leader hoyer, chairman towns, chairman spratt, chairman rahall, chairman gordon, chairman waxman, chairman markey, mr. lynch, susan davis for all the help they have given us on this very complicated, very important matter for our disabled veterans. at this time, madam speaker, i yield two minutes to my friend, my colleague, the distinguished chairman of the committee on oversight and government reform , the gentleman from new york, mr. towns. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. towns: thank you very much, madam speaker. thank you, the gentleman from
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missouri, for yielding. as chair of the oversight and government reform committee i rise in support of h.r. 2990. i am pleased the legislation we are considering today will assist the men and women of our armed forces by permitting disability mirled retirees to receive -- military retirees to receive their compen take and pay concurrentry. let me pause and thank chairman skelton for working closely with the oversight committee on title 2 of this legislation. title 2 makes several positive changes to the retirement system for federal employees. these changes will enhance the system's efficiencyy and effectiveness as a -- efficiency and effectiveness as a recruiting management tool. when we need to be attracting the best and brightest to the federal work force, most of title 2's provisions were included in h.r. 1804, a bill i sponsored that passed the house
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by unanimous voice vote on april 1. after passing the house, the retirement provisions were added to the landmark tobacco legislation that president obama signed into law this week. unfortunately, they were removed for procedural reasons in the senate version of the tobacco bill that president obama signed. i am delighted we have the opportunity to consider these measures again today. title 2 includes provisions to eliminate inconsistency in the way part-time service, breaks in service and unused sick leave are considered in calculating retirement benefits. these provisions will help employees and managers plan for a wave of upcoming retirements and encourage highly talented individuals to return to government service. i think -- thank the staff of both committees. i thank mr. chairman for --
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chairman skelton for his support, and i urge all of my colleagues to vote for this very important legislation. and i hope that the other side stops calling for adjournments because this bill is very, very important and we need to move it forward. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from south carolina. mr. wilson: madam speaker, i yield so much time as he may consume to the gentleman from texas, mr. hall. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. . mr. hall: i stand here to speak on this bill. i have some misconceptions about it, but i intend to vote for this bill. i can't vote against this bill because it benefits people that have served this contry, that have suffered for this country. and i never in the 28 years i have been here voted for a bill that affected adversely any veteran or any person that stood up for this country, and
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i admire and respect mr. skelton the author of this bill. i disagree with the way he has funded it and want to point that out. i would also point out i have a letter addressed to mr. skelton that he's not had the time to receive it because this bill was introduced yesterday and it's on the floor today. that's a little hayes -- hasty but this is an important bill and a bill that needs to be passed. but i'm torn today as i rise to speak on h.r. 2990 on the one hand i support the visions in the bill, retired pay benefits for reserve members and compensation benefits for service members, but where i'm torn is how the chairman, my good friend, mr. skelton, chose to pay for the compensation and benefits provided under the bill. i think first point out that this is a bill for the veterans and this is a bill for those that probably without this bill
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would not have the assistance that they need and that they deserve, that they are entitled to. i'd also say as a veteran of world war ii and probably one of about four or five on this floor still here, five or six over in the senate, there's not very many of us left, but i take no back seat to anybody in supporting veterans. i have a veterans hospital that my predecessor provided and benefited. i have had the pleasure of walking in a mass walk-a-thon to preserve that hospital from texas where mr. rayburn lived to dallas to protest cuts in it. as anybody on here would. anybody on this floor has to support the purpose of this bill. but i'd say that those that are suffering, any of those who have served in any war, the measured desire they have is that no other generation have to fight such a war. and that we remove the causes of war and probably the greatest duty of a member of
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congress is to prevent a war. how do you prevent a war? you prevent a war by removing the causes of it. and energy itself has been the cause or lack the energy has been the cause of most wars that i know anything about. japan didn't hate this country. japan loved this country, but our country had cut off their access to oil. they had 13 months national existence. we had to know that japan would break out somewhere. that that was a war over energy not the hatred of the united states of america. 12 or 14 years ago george bush senior sent 450,000 of our troops over to kuwait. that was not a battle for the emir of kuwait. we don't care anything about the emir of kuwait. that was to keep a bad guy, saddam hussein, from getting his foot on half the energy reserves. that was a war for energy. so i have a bill that i passed, i passed it as a democrat once,
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it failed. it didn't get through. passed it as a republican with democratic and republican support. it passed this body. the chairman, ike skelton, voted for it at the time and that bill is now underway. i want to say a few words about that bill because i think you're entitled to know and i'm very hopeful that the other body will look closely at this and i'm going to be working toward that. i haven't had the time or the opportunity to work toward it and neither did i have the incentive to do anything to kill this bill. i urge everybody within the sound of my voice here to vote for this bill and commend ike skelton for his leadership and his devotion to the men and women that fight for this country and care for this country. i think unfortunately this bill he chose to redirect the funds which by law, public law 109-58, a law that passed the house 275-156, a law that chairman skelton voted for, reserve for the ultradeep water
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and unconventional onshore natural gas and other petroleum research and development programs known as section 999. the hard cold facts about it, brought that bill into being was we can get energy up from the coastal waters. we can get it up to -- around 800 or 900 feet. this bill without the technology could not get it to the surface where we could benefit from it. but we knew that the energy was there and we knew the technology was there. and the bill i introduced is not an energy bill nor a technology bill. it puts the two together. it gets -- pays universities, there are 26 universities in this country, i'll mention some of those in a few minutes, that came, stepped forward that are working within this bill, have put three year's work into it. i just think that we need to
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remember section 999. it's achieved a lot since its enactment. it passed and it passed the bill. it was in the bill that we passed a year and a half ago. consortium that administers a program has grown to achieve over 140 entities in 28 states, including 26 universities. those 26 universities i'm not going to recite all those universities. they are available and people know where they are and which they are. but i do want to point out just some of the universities. m.i.t., this is a list of them here. m.i.t., florida international -- florida international university, louisiana state university, massachusetts institute of technology, mississippi state university,
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rice university, texas a&m, texas tech, university of kansas, oklahoma, texas, tulsa, utah, alaska, fair banks, houston, michigan, south carolina, corn california, west virginia, and west virginia state. those are just some of the many institutions that are working within the confines of the bill that we passed. the consortium has awarded dozens of projects. these are underway. this bill if you divert this money from this bill to support the bill that mr. skelton has, these are the things that you're knocking out. an effort to find energy for 100 years of energy that this country needs. it would prevent us from having to pay foreign agents, arab nations that we don't trust and don't trust us. that millions of dollars could stay here in this country. the consortium has awarded dozens of projects including 43 research projects currently underway with a total project
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value of nearly $60 million. also, madam chairman, the value of the projects over and above the amount of annual funding for the projects, 37.5 million was achieved because industry believes in the value of the program and has invested substantially in it. testament to the work that the program has achieved to date. these projects were selected on a competitive basis from over 180 proposals totaling nearly $415 million. this program is underway and the projects awarded by the consortium include components that benefit dozens of universities throughout the country. in fact the research and development projects undertaken through the program have included the participation of nearly 1,500 energy researchers from coast to coast. these are not the majors. these are little people. these are for little people. these are for the american people. these are to prevent a war into the future but provide the energy of today. nearly 80% of the awards made
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through section 999 program have gone to universities, nonprofit organization, national laboratories, and state institutions. program awards are created high tech and innovative domestic jobs, the national energy technology laboratory has estimated that the awards would create 1,300 job years from research alone. all the while, madam chairman, the research projects are aiding the development of cleaner, safer, and more environmentally responsible domestic energy sources. yes, hundreds of years of energy that's there that we can't -- we can bring to the top now that we couldn't before. we get the technology, it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything. we pay for the energy we get by the technology that gives us the ability to bring it up. ability we didn't have, we couldn't get the energy with that technology we can get that energy. and that's the thing that's really -- breaks my heart to
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see us kill a program that's underway and it's working. it's hundreds of years of energy. i want to just point out one other thing. section 999 does just the type of research that the secretary of energy, the honorable steven chfment hu, feels that the federal government should be be supporting. as he stated in a hearing earlier this year as he testified before the house science and technology committee. this is a bill that is a wonderful bill for the purpose of the bill. i support it. i'm going to vote for it. i urge everybody else to vote for it. i urge you to work and look forward and find out for yourself the funds that are being utilized to take this place already underway successful and producing for us. not to throw it aside. there are surely other areas we can find. i'll join mr. skelton in that as this ning goes to conference or as it works its way through the other body. i thank you, i thank chairman
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skelton. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: madam speaker, i yield three minutes to the distinguished gentleman from south carolina, my friend, my colleague, gentleman who is the chairman of the committee on the budget, mr. spratt. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for three minutes. mr. spratt: madam chair, i commend the gentleman for bringing this bill to the floor and rise in strong support of the disabled military retirement relief act of 2009. this bill accomplishes several important things. it enhances the benefits of federal civil certificate have i retirees. it extends the bonuses available to our military recruiters to ensure they have the tools needed for recruitment and retention. most importantly this bill restores the benefits earned by a group of veterans who are particularly deserving. the group i speak of is comprised of veterans who are medically retired with a disability and less than 20
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years of service. these disabled veterans tend to be younger and as a result they tend to be less well-off financially. reducing their earned benefits by receiving one benefit against another, retirement pay against disability, does not strike them as fair. we can understand why. we first recognized their cause in the defense authorization act for 2008 when the congress, democratic congress, fought to include them in the combat related special compensation program. now president obama has asked us to take the cause one step further. he's asked us to provide concurrent receipt phase in over a period of five years for those veterans who are medically retired with a disability rating and for whom no longevity retirement applies. this bill moves to fund the first year of that proposal. this legislation will go a long way towards showing these veterans that they have not been forgotten. their service has not been
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forgotten. nor has their disability which they incurred in service. specifically this bill will repeal the offset which prevented medically retired veterans from concurrently receiving retirement pay and disability compensation at the same time. despite its high importance, please bear in mind this is a one-year solution. there is a reason for that. we have a rule here called the pay-go, pay-as-you-go rule which basically says when you enhance or expand eligibility for a entitlement program, you have to pay for it so that it will not worsen the deficit. in order to provide the offsets to keep from worsening the deficit as we undertook this very just adjustment of the veterans benefit program, we have had to look across the spectrum for different items. you just heard some of them read by mr. hall a few minutes ago. we'll after next year do the same thing to continue this benefit and to expand it we have to look for more. it's not easy. it's not easy by any means.
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it is worthy of these veterans who have done yeoman's service to their country, who have sustained wound they'll bear for the rest of their life and have disability benefits which should not be offset. this is a significant step forward. it is a step we have not yet completed. it's a step in the right direction, but we still have a way to go and make sure we'll -- next year we'll have to revisit this again in order to renew this benefit, in order to expand it for another year. nevertheless this is a well worked piece of legislation for a veterans group that dearly deserves the benefits it provides. i urge support for the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from south carolina. mr. wilson: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina reserves his time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: madam speaker, i yield three minutes to my friend, my colleague, the chairwoman of the armed services subcommittee on military personnel, the gentlelady from californi
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